But first a little background. I am the proud owner of an iPod Nano. I love my nano. I love my "marshmallow pink" headphones that are small enough to fit perfectly into my delicate ears. Unlike many iPod owners (my entire family included), almost all of my precious nano memory is taken up with sermons and Dave Ramsey shows. Each week, I listen to two sermons from the past Sunday. First is Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Second is Rob Bell from Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids. (It would seem I have something for churches with "mars" in the name, but I assure you it's just a fluke!)
Anyway, last fall, Mark Driscoll started preaching through Philippians. Mark is an excellent word-for-word preacher. At the beginning of his Philippians series, he camped on the word "grace" for one hour and nine minutes!!! (He has some very patient parishioners, yes!). I love to hear him speak and get the "meat of the word." Rob Bell is more of a topical speaker, although he will often refer to Greek text, customs, etc. Both of these men excel at personal application. If you can't find something out of their sermons to apply to your life, there's something wrong with you.
About the same time, last fall, I decided to start reading through Philippians each day in my quiet time. The whole book in one sitting every day. I did great--for a while. Like a good Baptist, my copy of Philippians is well-marked and notated. Then the holidays hit and I got off-track.
Shortly before Christmas, our home church pastor announced that he would begin preaching through Philippians after the new year. (Are you noticing a theme here?) I giggled. Obviously God wants me to learn something from Philippians! Yikes!! That may not be so funny after all.
Finally, one of our fellow worship team members decided that it would be a great exercise for the team to memorize the ENTIRE book of Philippians during the sermon series. After a bit of incredulity on the part of many team members, most of us have opted for memorizing Philippians 2, although I have the utmost respect and admiration for those who are working on the entire book. WOW!! So, not one to be left out and sensing that Paul's epistle to the Philippians was about to become my best friend, I signed up too! ((Of course, the promise of a yummy meal, courtesy of our pastor's wife (and praise team member extraordinaire) for all those who completed the memorization didn't have anything to do with it. Not at all. Ahem...))
Anyway, all this to say, I am head over heels into Philippians. I am back on track with my daily reading. The memorizing is coming a little more slowly. But, just last night, we were assigned accountability partners to recite our verses to. So I need to buckle down and get going. (Right, Julianna?)
This morning, as I was reading the same passages I have read and heard many times in the last few months, one phrase jumped off the page at me. Isn't it amazing how something from God's word that you've read or heard a million times can suddenly have fresh meaning???
There it was, Philippians 1:5, staring me right in the face and jumping off the page:
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.
Gulp. Naturally, my first response was "Well, surely Paul can't mean THAT. I mean, come on, Jesus was perfect and, heaven knows, I'm sure not. How in the world could my attitude be the SAME as Christ's? And anyway, Christ never had four kids. He never had a laundry pile the size of mine right now. He never had to spackle over holes lovingly placed in the basement drywall by two rambunctious boys. He never had to clean up dog vomit after the dog ate one dozen blueberry muffins that didn't agree with him. He never had to get an oil change or remember to buy cheerleading snacks or reschedule an orthodonist appointment for the third time!" I have every right to have a bad attitude!!
But after my defensive reaction settled, I was convicted. No, Christ didn't have to deal with all those mundane, day-to-day things that seem to consume my life. But he did have to deal with friends and family who rejected him, enemies constantly trying to entrap and imprison him, never having a permanent home or even knowing where he would sleep each night, looking forward to his inevitable death on the cross for everyone, like me, with bad attitudes. It seems so simple and yet, a positive outlook and attitude are very hard for this "glass half-empty" kinda girl
Admittedly, it's been crazy around our house lately as we finish up some minor repairs in preparation for selling, shuffle kids to basketball practices and games, go to games to watch Sydney cheer, participate in praise band, nurse sick kids, plus all the everyday things that have to be done. We are all a bit on edge, and I am often heard saying "Lose your attitude!" to one of the kids. But I think God is telling me that mine needs some work too. I pray that by the end of my journey(s!) through Philippians this year, my attitude will more closely resemble that of Christ Jesus.